New Haven firefighter killed in early morning accident in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN — A New Haven firefighter is dead after an early morning accident in New Britain.

Police said that on Thursday around 1:15 a.m. they were called to Black Rock Avenue just east of Warren Street for a report of a car that hit a telephone pole. The New Britain Fire Department was on scene to help with getting people out of the 2002 Honda Accord and stabilizing the car.

Police said the driver of the car, Yabey Oppenheimer, 38, of Hartford was taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police said that a passenger in the car, Jeffrey K. O’Neil, 37, of New Britain, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. O’Neil was a firefighter in New Haven, off duty at the time of the accident. He joined the New Haven Fire Department in July 2015.

New Haven Fire Chief John Alston released this statement on O’Neil’s death:

“Firefighter O’Neil showed himself to be a dedicated fire safety professional, a quick study in fire science, and a well-liked, highly regarded member of Engine Company 17 at the East Grand fire station – his presence will be sorely missed” New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said. “On behalf of the entire New Haven Fire Department I extend condolences to his family, with an assurance his well-deserved place in this department will not soon be forgotten.”

There have been no charges filed at this time or a determination of fault as the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call police at (860) 826-3071.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help his family with expenses.